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It was not the only time

There was the time in the maidens' chamber of Thrym's hall, when I had to calm him, convince him to play along, reassure him that he, at least, was still a man. There was the time just after I stole Sif's hair when, wearing both it and her form, I found him on the grounds of Asgard. There were all of the times on the road, in the forests of Midgard, on the stoops of Jotunheim.

It was not the only time, but we both knew it was the last.

There are times when the gods have to bow to fate. Even me.


The prophecy happened in the middle of dinner.

It was one of the few times that we were all gathered around the same table and I had managed to get into everyone's good graces at once. (Besides Vithar, obviously. He has always hated me.) I was telling some story of my derring-do and wit to thunderous applause when Odin, Frigg, and Gefjun (of all people) went completely stiff. Now, Frigg's a bit stiff at the best of times (I say with a knowing wink) but this was different. This was noticeable enough to draw everyone's attention away from me, right before the bit of my story with the troll wife and the three-legged stool. And then, as I realized that my story was a lost cause, the three of them started to prophesy.

There's no mistaking a prophecy when it's happening right in front of you. It's something about the voice, as if the prophet has the Norns themselves muttering in the back of his throat. Even I think it's disconcerting. But it's very obviously what it is, and so we all listened close as they spoke in creepy harmonic unison about Ragnarok. And you have to understand, at the time we hadn't even heard the word. So they told us about the war and the deaths and exactly how it was all going to be my fault. All of it. And how the first thing, the event that set it all off, was me getting bound in my own personal torture chamber.

It was the most effective way to kill a party I've ever seen. And I've seen parties killed with a very large hammer.

Now, ending the world was not exactly on my list of things to do at the time. I like the world. I like messing about in it. That's a lot harder to do if the sun has been eaten and everyone is killing each other. Plus, the Aesir are as much my family as anyone. Sure, I made things a bit harder for them from time to time, but I never even thought about killing them. (That thing with the apples doesn't count. Besides, I got them back.)

But there's no arguing with a prophecy. It's true. That's all there is to it. You may not understand why or how it's going to happen, but it will. So after those three slumped and stopped talking, everybody in the room turned their attention back to me. I could see their thoughts clicking. I had made trouble before. Was it that big of a step, really, from theft and cheating to fratricide? Why would I do it? There wasn't one person there who I hadn't shared a drink with (I've shared a whole lot more with most of them), and I watched as they decided I was a danger and an enemy. All of them. Even him.

I'll be honest, just this once. That fucking hurt.

It didn't get better, either. After that, every time I talked to someone they had this sort of terrified pleasantness about them. As if they were spending all of their concentration on not being offended, not getting angry, not getting me angry. Seeing how far I could push them was kind of fun for a while, but it got old quick. I got tired of being ignored and coddled.

So, when the opportunity arose, I killed Baldr. At the time, I figured that if I was going to be blamed for the end of the world, I might as well cause it, and Baldr dying was supposed to be the first step. Sure, I did it indirectly, but everybody knew it was me. The prophecy alone was enough evidence of that.

But instead of punishing me and really setting things in motion, they offed blind Hothr. So I single-handedly stopped them from resurrecting Baldr, thinking that would be enough to piss them off.

Apparently not.

Finally I gave up. I showed up at a party that I hadn't been invited to, killed one of the serving men, forced my way back in when they threw me out and proceeded to insult every single one of my family members. I didn't tell a single lie, either. I just pointed out their many failings. Came up with a few inventive names to call them. Again, it was kind of fun to see just how many social rules I could break between drinks. But they didn't take the bait. I pulled off some of the most impressive flyting ever, even if I do say so myself, and none of them let themselves get angry enough to do anything about it. So, finally, I turned on Sif.

Don't get me wrong, I like Sif. We've had our differences, sure, but she's unexpectedly forgiving and a really fantastic lay. Oh, don't look surprised. For a while there, I was trying for a full set. Anyway, usually, Sif and I get along really well. But, see, the thing about marriage is that it binds people together. So, if you insult a woman, really you're insulting her husband too. And, as more than a few mortals can tell you, insulting a god is pretty much tantamount to summoning them.

He took a while to get there, but when he did... Mjolnir still covered in giant blood, already pissed off without even really knowing why... It brought back memories. I think it's fair to say that we were arguing about more than just my bad manners, at that point. If anyone there was a traitor...

Well, he was a lot easier to make angry, at any rate, and he has always been better with a well timed blow of a hammer than with words. It wasn't very hard to get him worked up enough to take a swing. He chased me out of the hall with half a dozen others calling for my blood. As I fled, I tried my best to feel triumphant.

If I had let him catch me at that point I kind of doubt I would have lived long enough to be properly punished. So, instead of giving up and facing the idea of spending the next eternity dead or stuck with my annoying, clingy, horrid wife, I ran. I lost him in the far East by blending in with a group of giants, and while he was busy there I doubled back to Midgard. The first village I came to had a stack of pelts outside the makeshift tannery, not one of them more than a day old, all still bloody from the kill. I grabbed one at random, a boar bear. It smelt of musk, blood, and the kinds of things bears love smelling like. The skin side was still sticky. I hated it. It was the furthest thing from my style. That, of course, made it the perfect disguise.

I spent the next while as that bear in the nearby forest. It was an odd experience, almost relaxing. The bulky body made me slower, and most of my time was needed for foraging, fishing, and sleeping. Once, deep enough inside the disguise to think nothing of it, I rutted with a sow, just because she was in heat and it was what I was meant to do. At the time, I didn't think about the monster she would inevitably give birth to. (I tend to be a bad choice of fathers, as you well know.) I just went on eating berries. That's how far gone I was.

I didn't come out of it until I smelled him. Well, them. They had set up camp at the edge of my forest. Technically, it was the smoke from the camp fire that woke me up enough to put down the latest fish and wonder what was going on. I found a decent vantage point on a nearby ledge, did a quick change into a falcon, and watched them from there. It wasn't a very large group, really. Freyr, Heimdall, Tyr, and him. And they were really incredibly predictable. Freyr's a fantastic hunter, but at the end of the day he's more likely to sit down for dinner and drinks than to think about his job. Heimdall is hardly ever seen outside of Asgard, and Tyr's not much good in a fight these days. They were obviously there because they had demanded the right, not because they knew anything about hunting. So when Freyr broke out a skin of mead and settled in for the night, they followed his example.

He drank too, but I've seen him lower the level of the ocean without much of a problem. At that time, there wasn't enough mead in the whole of Midgard to do more than make him slightly louder and more prone to laughter. Long after the others had passed out, he was sitting there, chewing on the remains of dinner and scowling at the fire. I watched him for what felt like hours. Eventually, he gathered up his bedroll and moved into the woods, out of sight of the fire. It is possible that he was just taking watch, getting out of the firelight so that he could see the woods around him more clearly. I chose to take it as an invitation.

I went to him in the form of a beautiful woman, wrapped in the skin of a bear. I was filthy with weeks of living in a forest, hair matted, dirt-streaked. I could have been any forest spirit, any mad human. He looked up as I approached with an expression something like surprise, and said:

“Who is it      Ving-Thor sees/ In the dark coming     To his camp?”

I swallowed, pushing my voice into the correct shape, and then smiled my best demure-maiden-smile.

“I come      To Odin's son/ This spirit     Called Mikvinna.”

“Mirkvinna” was the name of a forest spirit we had met once. “Mik kvinna,” translated badly, means “I, woman.” I thought it was a pretty good hint, but I couldn't quite tell if he had gotten it. For once, I couldn't read his expression.

“What wish you    In coming so/From Thor to gain      Mikvinna?”

Instead of answering, I dropped the bear pelt, met his eyes and grinned. It was practically a challenge.

He never could resist a challenge.

I'd like to think that he knew then. That when he pulled me to him and kissed me, when I helped him out of his armor, when we lay down together, he knew it was me. I'd like to think we were both pretending we could go back to the way things had always been. More than likely, I had tricked him one last time. There's something fitting in that, too.

I remember that he tasted of mead and salt and that his beard felt strange against my bare skin. His hands were rough of course, a warrior's hands, but this once he treated me gently. It was the only time he ever focused on my body in that kind of detail. I am almost embarrassed in remembering how easily he unwound me, how easy it was for him to make me gasp and writhe and forget myself. When I came, grasping his shirt and howling, my mind went blank. So, of course, in that moment my form slipped and I stared up at him with my own eyes.

We froze. I was dazed still, trying to think of some sort of explanation. (Uhm, hi. Funny thing about forest spirits...) I think he was just shocked, either by what had happened or the fact that I had let it. I let go of him and fell the half inch to lay on the ground. He pulled back. My body finished growing back into itself. I was sure that he was going to call for the others and this was it. A stupid slip of concentration, and I had ruined everything.

I cleared my throat and opened my mouth to say something which I'm sure would have been both cutting and hilarious. He clamped his hand over my mouth and gave me this look. It was the kind of look he usually got when he was about to jump into battle, furious and almost smiling. For a moment, I was actually scared of him.

“For your betrayal       My vengeance / Appears to me      You know.”

To punctuate that, he put one hand under my ass and lifted me as if I was nothing, then thrust into me, nothing more to ease his way than the dampness left over from my other form. It hurt, it burned, it fucking tore and I screamed and strained to get away from it. He held me still, stronger than I ever would be, until I stopped struggling.

The whole time, he stared at me. Watched my face, my eyes. He didn't say anything, and his hand never left my mouth. I didn't know what to make of it, but it was... frankly, it was really hot. It didn't take me long to stretch, and to heal myself enough that I could start to enjoy things. In a minute or two, I was pushing back and trying to get a better angle.

As soon as I started to respond, he pulled out.

I must have made some sort of noise, because his hand clamped down tighter on my mouth. He lifted me by that hand as he stood, and I didn't have much choice but to scramble to my knees. At that level I had an eye-to-eye view of his dick, which was at this point somewhat less than appetizing.

It took me about a second to figure it out, and my gut twisted. I shook my head and tried to pull back. He made me look at him and moved his grasp just enough to let me talk. My mouth was dry.

“Is this how     Mighty Thor / It will end     In these woods?”

There were a dozen questions behind it, and I watched him slowly work through them. They weren't the sorts of things that we would ever say aloud then, and I don't plan on saying them now. Figure them out yourself.

His mouth twitched beneath his beard, and his expression shifted, and his hand moved to cup my jaw. Then it shifted again, to the back of my head.

“Now Loki     Laufey's son / You will pay     As ragr.”

If there were tears in my eyes, I swear they were from the stench. You don't even want to know what it smelt like down there.

He pulled me forward, but I moved with his hand, pushing myself further still. Before he could react I was through his legs and had my hands on the bear skin. That was all I needed. The form was clear enough in my memory that it unfolded in seconds. And in those seconds, the part of me that is Jotun woke. For once, and for one instant, I was stronger and meaner and larger than him, my head as high as the trees around us. I knocked him to the ground with one paw and crouched over him, teeth bared. Mjolnir was out of his reach. If I had been quick enough, I could have killed him there and saved my son the trouble. Instead, I changed back into myself and kissed him.

What can I say? I'm a romantic.

This time, when he stood, he lifted me with him. I wrapped my legs around him as he pushed me up against a tree, sliding into me again. His grip was too hard around my dick, and his palm a bed of callouses. It took hardly any time at all. I came hard, gasping, and for once wordless. He followed, deep inside me. We stayed there, leaning again the tree, for almost two minutes, breathing as if we had just fought a war. I held onto him to keep from falling. He rested his head against my chest.

After a time, I spoke. “Thor,” I said. “Felagi, I'm sorry.”

“Loki.” He spoke my name into my chest. Slowly, as if he was not sure what it meant.

Then he dropped me. I hit the ground, stunned, and watched him walk over to Mjolnir. He hefted the hammer slowly, looking it over as carefully as when I first gave it to him. I would have given anything to know what he was thinking.

Then he looked at me. “Run.”

I ran. This time, I ran in desperation, already knowing how it would end. I ran as a hind, a mare, a squirrel. I doubled back and changed my scent, used every single one of my many tricks to muddy the trail. I hid in the most secret parts of the land. Eventually, inevitably, they found me as a salmon and pulled me out of the water with one of my own inventions. He was there when they forced me into my own form, when they beat me and bound me and set the snake above me. He was the last thing I saw before its venom blinded me.

Of course I did not look at you, Sigyn. Haven't you been listening? Yes, 'felagi' I called him. Friend. It was my own damn pride that stopped me from calling him 'beloved.'

Don't you ever stop crying?!